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Simon Cowell returns to enlist three more industry heavyweights to find the next great pop act.

Recaps by Chico Alexander & Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Host Steve Jones
Judges Paula Abdul
Simon Cowell
Antonio "LA" Reid
Nicole Scherzinger
Creator Simon Cowell
EP Andrew Llinares
Rob Wade
Simon Cowell
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Richard Holloway
Siobhan Greene
Packager Syco TV
FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web thexfactorusa.com
Airs 8p ET Weds & Thurs, Fox
@The X Factor (USA)

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Judges' Houses Part 3
October 18

The audition process is about to reach its heady climax. One more stage before the reins are turned to you, America. At the end of these two hours, the judges will have done all that they can do. For 16 acts, the game is over before it truly begins. For the other 16, it's full speed ahead to the live shows. The judges have chosen their four acts to go forward. Now it's time to break the news...

First up, Tora Woloshin and Simone Battle. One is a mechanic looking to engineer a win in the music industry. The other is a student who's full of swag. One is current. The other forgot the words. But when she failed it was epic.

Simone is IN. Tora is OUT.

Fourteen-year-old student Drew Ryniewicz... joins... SIMONE!  We'll pick up with Simon's bracket LATER.

Back to Malibu with Nicole. First to hear his fate is Josh Krajcik, the burrito maker who has something to prove. Josh... is IN Nicole's team!

Next up, Dexter Haygood, James Kenney, and Christa Collins. Christa was a child star. James was a ball of raging emotion. Dexter was a has-been looking for his second chapter. At least one of these is in Nicole's final group.

Christa... OUT. James... OUT. Dexter, IN. That's two... and we move...

... to Santa Barbara. Paula has her four...

2Squar'd, the Brewer Boys, and Illusion Confusion are the first to hear the truth. We say goodbye to... Illusion Confusion.... AND 2Squar'd... But the Brewer Boys are IN.

Will 4Shore join the boys in the next round? If they make it, it's all on the stage. If they don't... it's the end of the line in more ways than one.

... it's the end of the line for 4Shore. 4Good, perhaps. More later.

Let's go to New York and the Hamptons. LA has his four.

First, we hear from 14-year-old Astro, Brian Bradley. He's the youngest of the group. He's also the youngest guy... IN.

Nick Voss, Phillip Lomax, Skyelor Anderson, and Brennin Hunt are next. Nick... DONE. Skyelor... DONE... Brennin... DONE... Phillip... Not. Done. YET.

Back to France, and Jazzlyn Little. She started little... ended big. But is it big enough? No.

Back to Malibu, and Tiger Budbill and Leroy Bell. One is a DJ and a wedding singer. The other is a 60-year-old singer/songwriter who may have sung his last. For one, it's about a soul-search. For the other, it's a matter of house or no house. One wants it more.

Tiger is OUT. Leroy is IN.

Back to the Hamptons, and Chris Rene is still clean. He needs to stay clean, no matter what. That's the promise. ... and it means more now, because Chris Rene will sing for your votes.

Back to Santa Barbara, and Lakoda Rayne and InTENsity, both groups formed from acts who didn't pass muster at boot camp.

... BOTH pass muster in this round.

Caitlin Koch is waiting for her fate from Simon. Is it to LA for singing, or Buffalo for rugby? ... It's Buffalo. Will Tiah Tolliver feel that same sting from the man who went to war for her? ... Nope. Tiah is IN.

Each judge has ONE spot left, and two acts fighting for each.

In the boys bracket, there's country-mouse Tim Cifers and city-mouse Marcus Canty. For one, victory would mean a new life for his family. For the other, victory means chasing a dream instead of a degree.

The final boy to make it to the live shows... MARCUS.

In the groups bracket, we're down to the Anser and the STEREO!!!!!!!!!hogzz.  One says that to be cast aside would be a mistake. The others say that they have what it takes, and that they've sacrificed so much.

The final group in the live shows... THE STEREO HOGZZ!

In the Over 30s bracket, Elaine Gibbs has been waiting for this her entire life. Stacy Francis doesn't want to die with this music inside of her. One had the best audition of the premiere show, but overdid it in Boot Camp. The other... not so much.

The final Over 30 through to Television City... STACY!

And that leaves Simon to decide between the youngest person in the competition and... someone who Simon called "the reason why he was bringing this show to America". One is competing for her own bathroom... and competing.. for.. her own bathroom.. One is 19. One just sounds like she's 19, and her failing is that she was lumped into an almost impossible bracket.

The final slot in the Top 16... goes.... to.... RACHEL!

... OR DOES IT?! If television has taught me one thing, it's that time can be rewritten. That night, Simon gets to thinking that he's made "a big mistake".

No worries, Simon, we've forgotten all about "Cupid." After comparing crib notes with the other judges, Simon heads to Florida to make right what he made wrong.

... "Hello." So that's Melanie's family. After apologizing to said family, he explains that he and the others have given Melanie ANOTHER CHANCE! So the final 16 is now 17 deep.

Brian "Astro" Bradley
Marcus Canty
Phillip Lomax
Chris Rene
Melanie Amaro
Simone Battle
Rachel Crow
Drew Ryniewicz
Tiah Tolliver
OVER 30s
Leroy Bell
Stacy Francis
Dexter Haygood
Josh Krajcik
The Brewer Boys
Lakoda Rayne

The Stereo Hogzz

Next stop... TELEVISION CITY IN HOLLYWOOD, and the Live Shows! We have the stage... Do they have the goods?

To see extras from this episode and a Pepsi Precap of the next episode, visit thexfactorusa.com.